Brian over at Hell on Frisco Bay has a nice meditation about seeing films that were meant for the big screen. A taste:
[T]hese days I'm generally not drawn to seeing films that seem to me (perhaps I'm being short-sighted) to be made for DVD or cable TV as much as they're made for theatrical release, no matter how good they're reported to be. I'm much more likely to put a priority on seeing something purely cinematic....
The same reasoning draws me to as many revived classic films as I can fit into my viewing schedule. Films made in the era before anyone thought seriously of reducing and broadcasting them to mass audiences can feel like revelations when returned to their natural setting. Such was the case of Singin' in the Rain, which I saw at Palo Alto's Stanford Theatre last weekend. I'd only ever seen it on a television set before, and though I liked it, to be honest I'd never quite grasped why it could be so highly esteemed as to earn a place on so many notable top 10 lists; why it had become perhaps the quintessential Hollywood musical. No wonder; in a way I'd never really seen it! It wasn't just that the vastness of the screen helped me to see details like the broken hairs on Donald O'Connor's bow by the end of "Fit as a Fiddle", or the wrinkle in Cyd Charisse's panty hose when she appears in the "Broadway Melody" sequence. It was that the deep blacks, bright whites and vivid candy store colors emphasized the story's fantastic elements and made me more easily forgive the anti-historical, pro-talkie mythologizing. I was able to dream along with the film.
The cinetrix was fortunate enough to see Lawrence of Arabia for the first time at a revival, on the Wang Center's 60-foot screen. I got there late-ish, and so was right down front, where I had to pan and scan with my eyes to take it all in and could almost look up the camels' nostrils. Later, Joseph Cornell's Rose Hobart would have a similar effect on my synapses, as would The Book of Life, one of being suffused with the limitless possibilities of color, movement, and sheer vastness. Or, as Brian put it, of dreaming along with the film.
What about you? What films have you seen in the theater that reminded you of what was lost when the pictures got small?